Sustainable Rural Community Development Organisation (SURCOD) operates mainly in Nsanje and Chikhwawa Districts in the south of Malawi.
Malawi is a small, landlocked country in southern Africa, neighboured by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.
It is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of its 11 million people live in rural areas, where population density is high and water-related diseases and HIV/AIDS are widespread.
SURCOD is based in Chididi, a small mountain community. However, the beauty of the area is marred by poverty.
Most of the population are subsistence farmers. Many of the women have no paid work. Some are widows with extended families and some are living positively with HIV.
Gender-based violence is common because of cultural traditions. Upon marriage a wife leaves her home and roots to join the husband's family. Women are regarded as powerless, and the culture fuels gender based violence because it encourages silence from women and girls.
SURCOD empowers the women of Chididi through a savings scheme project, working closely with government departments.
SURCOD also works closely with local traditional leaders to raise the status of women and help change ingrained cultural attitudes.
SURCOD advocates against forced marriage and child labour, in collaboration with local schools and other NGOs.
SURCOD is a member of CONGOMA (Council of Non Governmental Organisations in Malawi).